How safe are your home and valuables? This question although a simple one kept lingering in my mind, after an afternoon I spent at the campus of Godrej Locks in Mumbai. On the 15th of November, Godrej invited me and a set of bloggers from various niches to listen to a panel discussion by members from groups who have spent time thinking about and working on the concept of safety and theft. The event left us all pondering about how casually we take the safety of our homes and how much more we can do to make ourselves safe.
Before we arrived for the event, the team at Godrej Locking Solutions and Systems sent us three bone-chilling videos to view where they had interviewed reformed thieves. These interviews showed the modus operandi of seasoned thieves and how easy it was for them to break into homes. Here is one such video and I urge you to spend just 5 minutes viewing this to get a sense of the gravity of the matter.
The panel for the discussion consisted of renowned experts from various fields, who brought in unique perspectives on the concept of safety, thieves or robbers and what we need to think about when we talk about the safety of our homes.
The session was moderated by Sujit Patil – VP & Head of Corporate Communications at the Godrej group who introduced the discussion and the panellists. He urged for the day – 15th November to be observed as Home Safety Day and for us all to think more actively about the safety of our homes.
The panel consisted of Vivek Agrawal – veteran crime journalist and author, Shyam Motwani – EVP and Head of Business – Godrej Locking Solutions and Systems, Dr. Kaminidevi Bhoir – Honorary Psychiatric Counsellor for Mumbai Police, Prakash N. Borgaonkar – Western Region Head of HelpAge India and Sandeep an innocent citizen like any of us who had been the victim of a theft.
Vivek Agrawal started with an account of how an infamous community of robbers had burgled and murdered an entire family in Mumbai, including an 8-month-old child when their robbery attempt seemed like it would be foiled when the child woke up in the middle of the night. Shyam Motwani added to this saying,
“Preparedness is the key. One of the primary rules of defense is to understand the enemy. Even the best offence tactic only works if you know the weakness of the opponent. Crime has been a part of the society for eons. Over the years, it has transformed and become more non-predictive, gruesome, and even the robbers have become more prepared and planned in their modus operandi. It is therefore important that as responsible citizens we are prepared to tackle such unforeseen circumstances.”
Taking off from here Dr Kaminidevi Bhoir spoke of how robbers are actually seasoned criminals with a problem with their psyche.She introduced the concept of Kleptomania which is an urge to steal and can affect anyone young or old, rich or poor. She said it is a disease of the mind which can be treated. It was shocking to note that,
“A robber has no conscience while committing such an act.”
Then we heard of the most afflicted community in our society – the old, infirm and senior citizens. It is commonplace to learn of from newspapers, how old people are easy prey for ruthless robbers. Prakash Borgaonkar from HelpAge India said that
“Senior citizens in today’s society are the victims of loneliness. They have nobody to talk to and are often isolated by family, which is why they let anybody into their homes just for the sake of conversation, and become a soft target. They do not understand that they are inviting danger into their homes.”
Lets look at some lock and keys now shall we?
The Godrej lock has come a long way from the Navtal era (1954) and today’s lock and key systems are far evolved and move with the times.
To be honest I am still at Security Level 2 and was quite happy in the knowledge that I and my home are secure. But it looks like technology has come a long way since I last fit the locks on our doors. Isn’t this a stark reality of how ill-equipped we are?
Here are some pointers to make sure you don’t have to worry about #HowSafeAreYou :
- Evaluate the locks in the market yourself and buy them too. Don’t send your carpenter or ask the store to send a set of locks home to you.
- When buying a new home look at the locking mechanism as a top priority.
- Avoid leaving keys under the front door mat or hidden somewhere near the main door.
- Avoid keeping a set of keys with neighbours, maids or drivers. They fall prey quite easily to manipulative robbers.
- Look out for any strange markings near your house or doors. It means you have been marked for a burglary.
- Remember to cancel newspapers when going out of town. A pile of unclaimed papers is an easy clue for robbers to strike.
- Don’t judge a lock by its weight and size. Evaluate the technology it uses.
- Change number pins regularly on your locks.
- For fingerprint technology wipe the keypad regularly so that some keys don’t show wear and offer clues to smart robbers.
- Call the customer care number of the lock manufacturer for installation, servicing or duplicates. They will offer you prompt and professional service as opposed to the corner shop who can instead be a threat to security.
How many of these points do you make note of when thinking about #HowSafeAreYou ? If you are like me then you’ve heard about most of these for the first time. Do make yourself and others around you aware and take those steps to security today.